Brian Joss –
Toyota changed the motoring landscape 20 years ago with the launch of the original RAV4, which pioneered the way to the highly popular compact SUV market. Now it has unveiled the first RAV4 Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show.
The new RAV4 Hybrid AWD represents the next dimension in Toyota’s application of full hybrid technology. Its smooth and efficient powertrain combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, with an additional motor powering the rear axle to deliver electronic all-wheel drive.
The AWD capability provides greater safety and stability when negotiating low-grip surfaces, It also provides a towing capacity of
1 650kg, with Toyota’s Trailer Sway Control system providing added safety.
The unveiling of the hybrid coincides with the announcement of the new RAV4 range which features exterior styling, improved cabin quality and further deployment of advanced technology and safety features. While the hybrid will not join the local line-up, a select number of upgrades will be incorporated into the South African range within the next year.
RAV4’s new frontal design generates a stronger road presence and includes full LED headlights for the first time. To the side, there is a new rocker panel that creates a more flowing look, and at the rear the combination lamps and bumper have been reworked.
The sensory quality of the cabin has been raised significantly with the adoption of a full colour TFT screen and soft-touch materials throughout.
New technology features include Toyota’s 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor, which gives the driver sight of obstacles that would remain hidden in blind spots when using conventional front and rear cameras, making for safer and easier manoeuvring.
SA specifications and further details will be announced closer to the on-sale date.